Decades after her death, Audrey Hepburn remains an icon of unparalleled style, beauty, and talent. She earned her first Oscar for “Roman Holiday” in 1953, and with a posthumous Grammy in 1994, she became the fifth person to win the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards. In addition to her amazing work in such films as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “My Fair Lady,” Hepburn was a longtime supporter of UNICEF, becoming increasingly devoted to the organization in her later years. Unfortunately, cancer of the appendix claimed her life at 63, just one month after winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. We remember Hepburn’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1958: Keith Haring, U.S. artist well-known for his graffiti in New York City, is born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
1944: Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse for more than 30 years, as well as providing many other cartoon voices including “The Simpsons” characters Martin, Üter, and twins Sherri and Terri, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1941: Nickolas Ashford, U.S. singer-songwriter who was one-half of the duo Ashford & Simpson and had a hit in 1984 with “Solid (As a Rock),” is born in Fairfield, South Carolina.
As songwriters for Motown starting in 1966 – along with other labels – they were also responsible for favorites like “I’m Every Woman” (originally recorded by Chaka Khan), “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), and “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” (originally recorded by Diana Ross). Perhaps owing to their real-life love, their talent was at its height when they wrote romantic duets, like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” Read more
1939: Paul Gleason, U.S. actor whose notable movies include “The Breakfast Club,” “Trading Places,” and “Die Hard,” is born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Gleason honed his acting skills with his mentor Lee Strasberg, with whom he studied at the Actors Studio beginning in the mid-1960s, family members said. Through his career, Gleason appeared in over 60 movies that included “Die Hard,” “Johnny Be Good” and “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.” Most recently, Gleason made a handful of television appearances on hit shows such as “Friends” and “Seinfeld.” Read more
1938: Tyrone Davis, U.S. singer whose No. 1 hits included “Turn Back the Hands of Time,” is born in Greenville, Mississippi.
1937: Dick Dale, the “King of the Surf Guitar,” is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1929: Audrey Hepburn, Belgian-English actress who is considered a big-screen legend and starred in classics including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Sabrina,” is born in Brussels, Belgium.
One of the most celebrated movies in American history (Mickey Rooney’s painful “yellowface” performance as Mr. Yunioshi aside), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” provided Hepburn with the kind of iconic role even many of the biggest movie stars are never lucky enough to find. Once again, she wasn’t the first choice – author Truman Capote had wanted Marilyn Monroe, and the studio had given him assurances the role was hers. But Monroe demurred partly on the advice of acting coach Lee Strasberg, who felt playing a prostitute would be bad for her image (Kim Novak also claims to have passed on the role). Read more
1928: Maynard Ferguson, Canadian jazz musician and bandleader who created unusual brass instruments including the Superbone and the Firebird, is born in Verdun, Quebec.
As with many esteemed jazz players, mainstream success largely eluded Ferguson. But he scored a top-10 hit with his version of “Gonna Fly Now,” and the single spawned a gold album and a Grammy nomination in 1978. “I knew it was going to be a hit,” he once said of the Bill Conti composition. “Sylvester Stallone was in the studio when we recorded it,” punching a speed bag to the rhythm of the song. “If you listen very close to the original recording, you can hear in the mix the sound of him hitting the small bag,” Ferguson said. Read more
1923: Ed Cassidy, U.S. drummer who was a founding member of Spirit, is born in Harvey, Illinois.
1921: Patsy Garrett, U.S. actress who had notable TV roles on “Nanny and the Professor” and “Room 222,” is born in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1820: Julia Gardiner Tyler, U.S. first lady who was the wife of President John Tyler, is born in Gardiner’s Island, New York.